Tuesday, June 30, 2015

One day in Angkor Thom : Ta Prohm Temple

Ta Prohm is famous and unique for the ancient trees literally growing out of the ruins which have nearly swallowing the carved stone galleries and towers with its giant roots. It is also the place where Angelina Jolie ‘Tomb Raider’ film was made and thus this place made known to the world. The conservation and restoration of Ta Prohm is a partnership project between India and Cambodia.

Ta Prohm has been left relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its mystery. To preserve the temple and also the trees (500+ years old!), super awesome isn't it. But just removed the growing ruins which will damage/collapsed the temple.

“The tree is not damaging the structure at all. It’s actually holding the structure.”
What is in my thought is that the principle they are held to be in line with religious belief in Hinduism, i.e. to achieve the balanced of the universe, to unify the nature and temple into a single entity. I have strong feelings about the Ta Prohm temple. I felt the tranquility and so touched when seeing those giant tree roots engulfing the temple (to protect instead) and saw the tiny butterflies fluttering through the breezing air. 

The photo took on June 2015, just realized that it was same angle with the images on the Postcard. Roots and temple are there, just the proper wooden walkway was laid. 

Do you spot that someone is peeking out ?

Further reading :  

Notes to travelers to Angkor Wat  
Notes to travelers to Angkor Thom , Bayon Temple  and Ta Prohm Temple

Saturday, June 27, 2015

One day in Angkor Thom: Bayon Temple

Next stop inside Angkor Thom, after entering from South Gate you will see the Bayon Temple.

Bayon temple gives me a zen feeling when I was standing there looking straight at the temple. It is well known for its enigmatic stone carved faces on four sides. Each side represents a humanity value, which are ()、悲(bēi)、喜()、舍 (shě)(Love, Compassion, Joy and Give). Each face looked out in four different directions to symbolize the omniscience (all-seeing) of the Buddha. The Ushnisha* and closed eyes represent the attainment of the Buddha's enlightenment.

 The stone carved faces seems to overwhelm the whole landscape.  

Bayon temple has not only one, but many (some sources saying 50 towers) of huge stone-carved-4-faces nearby each other. You can see the faces at every turn. They each measures four metres high. Each of them are oriented toward the four directions of the compass (such clever). All stone faces have the same calming smile that brings comfort  and peace to your heart. Closed eyes remind us to focus and take notice of self.

The stone carved faces uplifts the entire landscape.

Bayon is rich in decoration, and the stone sculpture called the 'bas-reliefs' on the exterior walls at the lower and upper levels are outstanding (see photo below). 

In my view the best time for a great photo is at the start of sunrise and sunset where there are low exposure.

Notes to Travelers for Visiting Bayon 

1) Things to do in Bayon

A great place to watch sunrise

Buddha has a saying "Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decrease when being shared. ",
When the sunlight hits each of the monuments, they 'lit up' as the tip of the monument  

* The ushnisha is a three-dimensional oval shaped like carving, at the top the Buddha’s head. It symbolizes his attainment of reliance in the spiritual guide.

Further reading :  

Notes to travelers to Angkor Wat  
Notes to travelers to Angkor Thom , Bayon Temple  and Ta Prohm Temple

Friday, June 26, 2015

When the day starts to fade

Skywatch Friday

I have this magnificent sunset view on my way back from office, stop by one of Rest & Service area along KL-Seremban highway.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

One day in Angkor : Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom translates to the Great Imperial City. 

One of the important records made by the Chinese emissary Zhou Daguan 周达观(约1266年-1346年), 《真腊风土记》 in his visit end of the 13th century, which being used as a guideline for all the researchers and even for the Cambodian. 

In one of the records made by Zhou Daguan described that the houses being large and spacious with carved walls and painted images of the Buddha.

Ordinary families have houses, but nothing else by way of tables, chairs, jars, or buckets. They use an earthenware pot to cook rice in, and make sauce with an earthenware saucepan. For a stove they sink three stones into the ground, and use coconut husks as spoons. When serving rice they use earthenware or copper dishes from China; sauce comes in a small bowl made from the leaves of a tree, which doesn't leak even when it is full of liquid. They also make spoons from the leaves of the nypa palm, which they spoon liquid into their mouths with, and throw away after using. Even when they are making offerings to the gods and to Buddha, they do things the same way. They also have an earthenware vessel on one side which they fill with water and dip their hands in. They do this because they eat rice just with their hands, and it sticks in their hands and won't come off without water. "  

(Extract from pages 76-77 of A Record of Cambodia: the Land and its People by Zhou Daguan, translated by Peter Harris)

South Gate is the best preserved and busiest gate. The East Gate and the Victory Gate on the east are much quieter. 

You will need to pass through this gorgeous gate to enter into Angkor Thom

Notes for Travelers to Angkor Thom  

1) Hindu myth

Cross a wide causeway flanked by 54 devas (deity) and 54 asuras (demons) pulling on a giant snake in a representation of the Hindu myth of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk. The devas and demons cooperate to create the nectar of life.

2) Riding an elephant

An elephant ride from South Gate to Bayon cost US$10 per person and trip to Bakheng cost US$20 per person. Each elephant can take 2 adults. 

Further reading :  

Notes to travelers to Angkor Wat  
Notes to travelers to Angkor Thom , Bayon Temple  and Ta Prohm Temple

Monday, June 22, 2015

What to see in Angkor ? Angkor Wat

We took Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur (KLIA2) to Siem Reap, 2 hours flight journey to Cambodia for a short getaway.

Angkor is one of the most important archaeological and architectural site of Asia. In case you are not aware of, the Cambodian flag features Angkor Wat on its country flag.

Angkor Wat (translates to City Temple) is one of the largest religious monuments ever constructed between year 1113 and 1150 by Suryavarman II. Cambodians refer the monument Angkor Wat as Small Imperial City. The temple was built honors dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu (preserver of the Universe) rather than to the King. It is also symbolic representation of Hindu cosmology. 

Notes to Travelers visiting Angkor

1) Angkor Pass 
I bought a three-day pass (valid in 7 days) to explore the Angkor temples, which costs me US $40. A single-day pass is available for US $20 or a week-long pass can be purchased for US $60. Children below 12 years old is Free-of-Charge.

Do remember to carry along the Pass with you as there will be a checking point at entrance of each temple. 

2) How to get there ? 

We (2 adults & 2 children) get a driver and local tour guide (English speaker) for our first day visit and the Tut-tut for the second day. 

3) Expenses in Angkor (for reference only)
  • Driver & Van (8 pax) (from the Lucky Mall) = $40 Full day or $8 Half Day ; Tour guide (English speaker)  = $39 
  • Tut-tut = $15 Full day
  • Lunch inside the Angkor compound = $5-10 / meal  
  • Coconut drink = $1 

4) Things to do in Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat faces to the west. The temple is better visited in the afternoon/ evening for sun set instead sunrise. However, the temple is closed at 5.30 pm. After 5.30pm , the security guard will rushed the visitors out from the Angkor Wat temple. 

Reflection of Angkor Wat in the calm water. 

Further reading :  

Notes to travelers to Angkor Wat  
Notes to travelers to Angkor Thom , Bayon Temple  and Ta Prohm Temple

Friday, June 19, 2015

Angkor Wat in June !

Aura light that shielding Angkor city (Skywatch Friday)

Hi all, I just returned from my recent trip to Angkor Wat. It was a memorable trip and what I have seen (city build in 600-1000 years ago) still fascinates me. The wisdom of the builders had in the constructing / building of the Angkor Kingdom somehow vibrant (inspired), leading me to find out more of the ancient kingdom. 

Stay tuned, more postcards to come.   

Further reading :  

Notes to travelers to Angkor Wat  
Notes to travelers to Angkor Thom , Bayon Temple  and Ta Prohm Temple

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Anthropomorphic Motif of Borneo

I've kept this postcard in my drawer for some times. 
I have no idea what does the symbols representing for.
It is kinda like drawing of the fairly tales from the earliest ancient, known as Anthropomorphic Motif.

Those symbols inside the big circle are the intricate motifs which I believe is inspired by animal and plant. When the beads are woven repeatedly following the design and it can turn to be an exotic accessory like the photos below.   

Source : mySabah.com

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Mount Kinabalu Peaks

I'm digging out one of my postcard collection of Mount Kinabalu and thought to make some research about the peaks. I've not climbing mountain since I met an accident and hurtled my knee some years back. So only see the peaks directly from the postcard :p   
Here are some famous peaks...
Low's Peak (4,095.2m)
Highest point of Mount Kinabalu. The peak is easy to identify when you are standing on the summit plateau
Donkey's Ear Peak (4,054m)
The peak is easy to be recognize by its distinctive shape that looks like donkey ears. However, the twin peak landmark has been destroyed due to the tremors on June 5,2015 with the top of one of the peaks falling off. 
South Peak (3,933m)
The most famous landmark of Mount Kinabalu. It's called as Seringgit Puncak by the locals, the peak is on our RM1 ringgit paper notes.
St John's Peak (4,090.7m)
It is the second highest peak of Mount Kinabalu. There is a visual illustration on the rock face. Some people commented that they can see the Orang Utan face on it. 
Victoria's Peak (4,090m)
This peak easily to be differentiate from other peaks with a horn or stub sticking out. 
Low's Gully (named after Hugh Low)
About 1,800m deep, is one of the least explored and most inhospitable places on earth (Source: Wiki).

Climbing trail of Mount Kinabalu.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Stay safe Sabah !

We are feeling so sadden to hear the news about an earthquake hit Ranau (approx. 20km from the Mount Kinabalu park) on June 5,2015 at 7.15am with the tremors felt in Tambunan, Pedalaman, Tuaran, Kota Kinabalu and Kota Belud.

We were taught since young in school that we are NOT living in a location that prone to earthquake. We shall change our perspective in the aftermath of the Sabah quake and to be conscious about how and what to do when an earthquake strikes. 'It's not the shaking that hurts. It's the stuff that falls on your head'. The most quake-related injuries and deaths are caused by the collapsing building, flying glass/ stone and falling objects. 

Japan-Talk shared tips on things-to-know to survive earthquake in Japan which may also applicable for other nations. Japanese people are trained in earthquake survivor skill from childhood   
(1) Hid under a sturdy object like desk or table 
(2) Don't rush out of building (as sign, wall, other object may fall) , seek for wide open area 
(3) Turn off gas and stove 
(4) Open the door to secure exist 
(5) Taking cover outside (protect your head)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Illustration Postcard as Promotional Tools

Halo, my dear friend. 

I love to collect illustration postcards, and it's normally wrapped / given as an exclusive gift upon a purchase of magazine or book. I'm not too sure about you, but for me, I will purchase the magazine / stuff that I may not need / want, but just to own the byproduct, i.e. illustration postcard. 

The 4 piece of postcards posted here are coming as a free gift from a Taiwan magazine , one of the topic in that series talked about postcards.  

 Jeff Szuc's posted some tips to use Illustration Postcard as an effective promotional tools to an outlay of effort-to-work-to-ratio-of-return-on-investment.